Mike Blumenthal

Mike Blumenthal

Google Maps

Tectonic Shifts Altering The Terrain At Google Maps

Google recently upgraded Google Maps with a new land parcel data layer, added a Map error reporting function, has promised map fixes to street errors in 30 days or less and has replaced Tele Atlas as their provider of roadway data. It was widely expected that Google might replace TeleAtlas but I don’ think anyone […]


Despite Fixes, Google Maps Still Vulnerable To Spam

Although Google Maps is now going on 5 years old, it is still in its infancy. It has become a powerful tool for local marketing yet Google’s policy of “launch early and iterate” has created a tool that has been open to an ongoing number of abuses. Recently Google announced that they had closed a […]


MapQuest: “We’ve Come Out Of Hibernation”

I recently had the opportunity to interview two senior level executives from Mapquest to find out what the longtime provider of online mapping services is up to. Despite perceptions, MapQuest is actually a more popular mapping destination than Google or Yahoo’s map sites, and the company continues to innovate and push out new features and […]

Search penalties

Problems Continue With Google Local Business Listings

What do the Google searches; Orlando Hotels, Miami Discount Car Rental & Dallas Discount Car Rental have in common? The obvious answer is that they are all local searches on popular phrases in major metro areas. A less obvious answer is that like the infamous Denver Florist search last December, they all return seemingly authoritative […]


Change Your Address In The Google Plusbox In 5 Simple Steps

Google’s enhanced listings for local search results are called the “PlusBox” because clicking the plus sign opens an inline box with additional information about a business. Over the past several weeks I’ve written about the problem of erroneous address information appearing in the Google PlusBox (here and here), and recently Bill Slawski covered the issue […]


A New Scourge For Yahoo: Affiliate Mapspam

I’ve been writing about Mapspam appearing in both Google and Yahoo search results for some time now. Mapspam is where black hat SEOs spam local search and map listings, and like all black hat techniques, it seems to get more sophisticated as the search engines find ways to combat the spammers’ techniques. There’s a new […]

Google Maps

Google Maps Categories: Will The Pain End Soon?

Over the past several weeks I have explored some of the issues involved with categorization of businesses in Google Maps on my blog, Understanding Google Maps. In Part 1, I detailed the more than year-long history of small business frustration. In Part 2, I provided some background on the early research and the difficulty with […]


Vote Now For 2007’s Funniest Search Blog Posts

I’m now taking nominations for the 2007 top 10 list of the funniest/most irreverent blog entries in search. Why? The search industry is important. I mean, what industry (besides the sex industry) can singlehandedly cause Google to change its vaunted PageRank algo? However, on occasion we tend to take ourselves too seriously. I have always […]


MapSpammers Getting More Sophisticated

After the first relatively unsophisticated Google MapSpam bulk upload attempt became public, I had a long and interesting conversation with a webmaster who had spent many years implementing a “long tail search” campaign on behalf of local business in a major market. He pointed out that with a little bit of work, a national company […]


Deconstructing Google’s Billboard Experiment

Last week’s coverage of Google’s Goog-411 billboard in Olean brought forth a number of other sightings of the billboards in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, Ca. & Tonawanda , Buffalo and Limestone (even smaller than Olean) NY. While there may be others yet to appear and more billboards coming from Google, the very specific […]

Search penalties

Yahoo Local Now Features “User Denigrated Content”

After exploring Yahoo’s Mapspam, I started investigating Yahoo’s end user local reporting features more fully. I may have underestimated Yahoo’s features to deal with spam (and to abet it). The new Yahoo Local is making a strong attempt at encouraging user input and content about local businesses with reviews, soliciting and actually reading end user […]


What Should Google Do About Mapspam?

The first widely reported Google Mapspam (and see here) clearly highlighted the potential and pitfalls for local search. Mapspam is a relatively new phenomemon, where black hat SEOs are spamming local search and map listings. It also raised a number of questions for Google, and for the search marketing industry:


TellMe: Is Microsoft Shadow Boxing Against Google In Mobile Voice Search?

The recent acquisition of TellMe by Microsoft, piqued my interest in the free voice driven directory assistance service, 520-Find and the possible role that Google plays in the service. Mobile directory assistance will have a huge role in both local search and local advertising going forward. Clearly, Google has an interest in this field, it […]